Jo established Immediate Theatre in 1996 to create a relationship between her work and the community in which she lives, Hackney. Prior to this, Jo worked as a freelance director and project development worker for a range of organisations leading new writing and education programmes. These included: the Royal Court, Paines Plough, the Liverpool Everyman, Theatre Venture, Theatr Powys, the Half Moon Young Peoples’ Theatre. Jo is Chair of Governors for a local Primary School, trustee of Maya Productions and Mimbre, a local Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation, and has delivered consultancy projects for the Round House and London Bubble.
During her career, Jo has developed plays which introduce older audiences of differing cultural backgrounds which was invaluable when delivering intergenerational work with funding from Arts Council England and Heritage Lottery. She has had huge success winning funding bids for Immediate, including large contracts of over £300,000, resulting in a turnover of £850,000. This reputation was recognised widely, with Jo winning awards for excellence from the Learning Trust and National Social Care & Health projects. With Immediate, Jo conceived the EbYT model, providing sustained arts activities in the most deprived areas of Hackney, and has also led on Theatre Pathways, tackling inequality for BAME young people seeking a career in the arts.
Suzy joined Immediate Theatre in June 2020, bringing with her 20 years of experience in community arts. Suzy was previously Executive Director at Theatre Peckham.
Charmain started working with Immediate Theatre in 1999. She initially became Project Coordinator for the Meet the Parents project in 2004. Her extensive experience of sex and relationship training has made this one of our most successful projects and the project is still up and running in schools across the borough today. Charmain is a level 1 and level 2 accredited tutor and has taught in a diverse range of educational settings across Hackney, for over 18 years.
She has since stepped into the role of Participation Manager, taking on the management of the Estate-based Youth Theatres, the cornerstone of Immediate’s work within the community. Charmain has many strings to her bow and works across numerous projects for the company, as well as being the Deputy Safeguarding Officer. She is an extremely dedicated member of staff, so much so that we find it difficult to get her on annual leave! You will always spot Charmain from the crowd, with her amazingly polished nails and larger-than-life earrings!
Gbenga has been part of the Immediate Theatre team for over 3 years. He started his career as a Youth Justice Practitioner, where he developed extensive experience engaging the hard to reach young people. After working on our Talent Match project for two years as an Outreach & Case Worker, Gbenga joined the team as Training Coordinator for Immediate Theatre’s employability work.
Outside of Immediate Theare, Gbenga works as a freelance videographer, delivering targeted workshops and producing independent videos for street artists, galleries and individuals. He also runs Dalston Den, a creative space hosting live arts events, film screenings, and performances showcasing the best local young talents. In his spare time, he enjoys creating art on canvas and visiting art galleries and exhibitions.
Youth Drama Coordinator
Nadya joined Immediate Theatre in September 2018 to lead our Estate-based Youth Theatre programme. Before moving into the voluntary arts sector, she spent 6 years teaching in inner-London secondary schools. In her most recent role she successfully formed a new Drama department, producing and directing a range of productions.
Prior to this, Nadya undertook her BA in Drama & English in Bristol, followed by 5 years working in Marketing at the BBC in Bristol and London. In her spare time, Nadya enjoys going to the theatre, cooking, yoga and, most of all, spending time with her cat, Ruby.
Note: Nadya is currently on maternity leave - please direct any EbYT-related enquiries to Hannah or Charmain.
Marketing & Administration Officer
Georgia first joined the team in September 2019 for the second round of our Marketing & Administration Internship, funded by the Jack Petchey Foundation’s Intern Scheme. She has since become a valued member of the team and has taken on the new role of Marketing & Administration Officer.
Originally from Sheffield, she is a proud Northerner now living in London. She has a background in event planning/production and social media marketing, previously working on various arts festivals around the UK including BE FESTIVAL, Sheffield International Doc/Fest and D&AD Festival. Georgia has a BA in English Literature and Film Studies and completed an MA in Arts and Cultural Management in 2017. She is passionate about creating opportunities in the arts for young people. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, cooking (and eating) delicious food, and long walks with her adorable labrador Chester.
Youth Drama Coordinator (Maternity Cover)
Hannah first joined Immediate Theatre in 2018 and is currently covering the Youth Drama Coordinator post.
Originally from Scotland, Hannah began her career in the Creative Learning Department at Dundee Repertory Theatre, facilitating a number of their youth and community projects. Since moving to London in 2016, Hannah has completed her degree in BA Drama, Applied Theatre and Education at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. In her final year, Hannah completed a 10-week placement with Immediate Theatre and has been part of our family ever since! Hannah works as a Facilitator/Workshop Leader on our Estate-based Youth Theatre programme, as well as supporting Gbenga on the What’s Your Story? programme.
Outside of Immediate Theatre, she is a Performing Arts Lecturer at the London College of Music, and develops her own work as part of her theatre company, ‘The Stooshie Collective’.
Youth Drama Coordinator (Maternity Cover)
Olivia joined Immediate Theatre in October 2019 for a professional placement as part of her degree. Following her placement, she continued to work on our Estate-based Youth Theatre programme for a few months, providing key support during lockdown, before officially joining the team. She is currently covering the Youth Drama Coordinator post alongside Hannah, and is leading on our Speech Bubbles programme as well as our new Transitions project ‘Stepping Up’ for young people moving up to secondary school.
Originally from sunny Cyprus, Olivia moved to London in 2017 to study BA Drama, Applied Theatre and Education at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, completing her course in 2020. She is passionate about connecting with young people through drama and loves working with Immediate Theatre. In her spare time, Olivia is a nanny and enjoys spending time with friends, watching (too much) Netflix and FaceTiming her cats back in Cyprus.
Sharon started working at Immediate Theatre in December 2013 as the organisation’s Administrator. Before her time at Immediate Theatre, Sharon moved from her hometown in Ireland to London in 2006 and worked for many years in a broking firm in the City before deciding to move into the Third Sector. She spent a year travelling around Central & South America, working with various conservation projects in Bolivia and Colombia before settling back in London to work with a national charity.
Sharon took on the role of General Manager in 2015, taking on a great responsibility of leading the organisation out of a very difficult financial period. Leading on management for the organisation, she worked closely with Jo on strategy and development, compiling research for funding sources, negotiating contracts with partners and funders and taking the lead on developing funding applications. We were sad to lose Sharon as General Manager in March 2020, however she continued to support us under lockdown and is now supporting on company development remotely from her new home in Bristol.
Current Year: Sep 2020 – Aug 2021
Immediate Theatre has been providing first time employment opportunities for young people since 2001 by employing young people as Peer Facilitators (aged 16-25 years) on our youth theatres across Hackney. The Peer Facilitator programme provides an opportunity for young people, with an interest in youth arts, to provide support to the staff team in community youth theatres. The programme is designed for young people who may face significant barriers to employment to prevent them from becoming NEET. In the past, we have worked with ex young offenders, young people in care, young carers and many who have low attainment levels at school. Peer Facilitators are recruited following a short training period which covers essential facilitation skills and safeguarding. This work has a significant impact on the Estate-based Youth Theatre participants, many of who experience complex challenges in their own lives. The Peer Facilitators act as a bridge between adult workers and the young people, acting as positive role models and pushing them to do their best.
Associate Director (2008-2017)
We were all deeply saddened by the loss of our dear friend and colleague Tony Gouveia on 31st January 2017. Tony had been Associate Director of Immediate Theatre since 2008 and his impact on our work and the lives of hundreds of young people was significant. As Sir Peter Bazalgette, recent Chair of the Arts Council said, “The doorway into the arts can be hard to find” - Tony dedicated his life to reaching out into the community, to opening the door for people, young and old, and inviting them in. His loss has been felt deeply not just by his family and the young people he worked with but by the wider arts community. Over the nearly forty years of his career he was at the forefront of innovation and excellence and worked across Britain and the world becoming a legendary figure in the world of arts participation. In recognition of his contribution Arcola Theatre has dedicated one of their studios to his legacy and to the sectors continuing commitment to keeping the door way to theatre open for all.